Dendritic nicotinic receptors modulate backpropagating action potentials and long-term plasticity of interneurons

Balázs Rózsa, Gergely Katona, Attila Kaszás, Róbert Szipöcs, E. Sylvester Vizi

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Stratum radiatum interneurons, unlike pyramidal cells, are rich in nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs); however, the role of these receptors in plasticity has remained elusive. As opposed to previous physiological studies, we found that functional α7-subunit-containing nAChRs (α7-nAChRs) are abundant on interneuron dendrites of rats. Moreover, dendritic Ca2+ transients induced by activation of α7-nAChRs increase as a function of distance from soma. The activation of these extrasynaptic α7-nAChRs by cholinergic agonists either facilitated or depressed backpropagating action potentials, depending on the timing of α7-nAChR activation. We have previously shown that dendritic α7-nAChRs are involved in the regulation of synaptic transmission, suggesting that α7-nAChRs may play an important role in the regulation of the spike timing-dependent plasticity. Here we provide evidence that long-term potentiation is indeed boosted by stimulation of dendritic α7-nAChRs. Our results suggest a new mechanism for a cholinergic switch in memory encoding and retrieval.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-377
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2008



  • Calcium stores
  • Hippocampus
  • Non-synaptic
  • Rat
  • Two-photon laser-scanning microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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